It was the whack heard round the world. When figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was hit in the leg by a baton-wielding attacker on January 6, 1994, it sparked one of the most shocking sports scandals in history. No one could have predicted that rival skater Tonya Harding was involved.
The Olympic scandal ignited a media frenzy, and Nancy and Tonya couldn’t have been more fit for the roles they would be given — Nancy as the innocent victim, and Harding as the jealous, white-trash schemer. All eyes were on the rival athletes when they went toe-to-toe at the 1994 Winter Olympics a few weeks after the attack. Nancy took home the silver medal; Tonya placed eighth.
Now, 20 years after the brazen attack, ESPN’s new documentary The Price of Gold (airing Thursday) examines the infamous moment that turned Nancy into America’s sweetheart and Tonya into the lowly villainess.
After the 1994 Olympics, the media shine on Nancy started to wear off, replaced by reports of her not-so-nice behavior. Her new moniker? The ice princess.
Later that year, 24-year-old Nancy retired from competition figure skating. She has since appeared in a variety of ice shows, and she most recently made a cameo in Will Ferrell’s Blades of Glory.
In 1995 she married her agent, and the couple now have three children. She reportedly refuses to speak to Harding to this day.
On March 16, 1994, Tonya pleaded guilty to hindering the investigation of the attack. She may have avoided jail time, but she later paid her price. Tonya was banned from competitive figure skating and stripped of her titles. Thus, began a succession of odd jobs.
Later that year her ex-husband — and the man responsible for the attack on Nancy — Jeff Gillooly sold a sex tape, starring him and Tonya, to a TV tabloid show. In 2002, Tonya faced off against Paula Jones for Fox's Celebrity Boxing. This inspired her to make her official women's professional boxing debut in 2003.
She became a talking head for truTV show The Smoking Gun Presents: World's Dumbest... and released a book, The Tonya Tapes, in 2008. In her frank memoir, she accused her ex of raping her at gunpoint.
Tonya now lives with her husband and son in rural Oregon.